George W. Lackey was born in Russell Township on Except for the time he attended college, he was a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. He married Theresa Whitenack on April 1, 1891. Their stately home stood at 702 State Street, where the wool carding factory of Lemuel Powers originally stood when Lawrenceville was young, and where now Lawrenceville’s City Hall stands.November 4, 1863, a son of James and Sussana Seitzinger Lackey.
Lackey’s life was one of hard work and activity. He graduated from Central Normal College, Danville, IN and immediately entered upon an educational career, teaching school, during which time he organized the first high school courses in the Lawrenceville schools. He was elected County Superintendent of Schools in 1892, serving one term. Lackey originated the idea of a township high school and was instrumental in the establishment of the one at Lawrenceville, serving for many years as President of the Board.
After his term as Superintendent, Lackey held a position of mail inspector on the railroads, and during that time he studied law, and also read law under F. C. Meserve, P. W. Barnes and I. A. Judy, being admitted to the Illinois bar in 1898.He was elected States Attorney in 1900, and was a fearless prosecutor, it being his contention that a prosecutor didn’t win all of his cases, but that transgressors got tired of being brought into court.
Seeing the need for a hospital, Lackey began to study ways and means for establishing one for the county, and worked hard to get the present institution. He was also instrumental in creating Lawrence Township Park, (where the pool is located now), by arranging for the acquisition of the necessary land from the Hennessy heirs. In this and many other civic affairs he donated his legal services.
A charter member of the Lawrenceville Chamber of Commerce, Lackey served for several terms as a director and as president of that organization. Along with Lysander Warren Gee, W. B. Hiteshaw and J. E. Lemons, he helped organize the Farmers State Bank in 1909, situated on the southwest corner of the square in Lawrenceville, (now as empty lot), and the Peoples Building and Loan Association. He was on the committee to promote and encourage a state park be built in Lawrence County, now known as Red Hills State Park.
An ardent Democrat, Lackey was once a candidate for the Office of Circuit Judge. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for 61 years serving several years as Master of the local lodge. He had taken other degrees in Masonry through the 32d. as well as being a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge.
Lackey was a consistent worker in the church and was for many years a teacher of an adult class at the Evangelical United Brethren Church. He practiced, mainly, as a sole practitioner in his practice of law. He was for a short time associated with J. D. Madding, and for a few years with his son, George A. Lackey. At his death, George W. Lackey, age 90, was Lawrence County’s oldest attorney in both age and years of practice.
Lackey fell on the steps of the Lawrenceville Post Office, December 26,1952, breaking a hip, and was incapacitated until his death at his home, late Monday, March 8, 1954, after more than a year of illness. Lackey was survived by his wife, Mrs. Theresa Lackey, three daughters and one son.
|George W. and Theresa Whitenack Lackey|
Photograph taken at their
60th wedding anniversary in 1951.
His wife, Theresa, was born in Hendricks County, IN, on May 7, 1865, a daughter of Abraham and Caroline Reynolds Whitenack. Mrs. Lackey was a member of the EUB church, the Eastern Star, White Shrine, the Lawrenceville Mentor club, and the Lawrenceville Woman’s Club. She taught a Sunday School class for many years, served for a time as president of the Lawrence County Sunday School Association, and was a committeewoman in the Democratic Party. As a public-spirited woman, she was ever willing to address civic meetings, and her talks were always interesting and instructive.
She was a rather remarkable woman in that she was anxious at all times that young people become better schooled, having been a teacher in Indiana before her marriage. She saw to it that all of her children attended colleges and universities.
The Lawrence County News reported on August 15, 1957, that Mrs. Theresa Lackey, 92, of 702 State Street, widow of George W. Lackey, had died Sunday noon, after more than a year of illness. She had not been in good health since the death of her husband three years earlier. Burial was in the Lawrenceville Cemetery.